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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NATURAL BLINDNESS

"Why did young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and country resort to such violence?"
-President Obama

When anything happens in this world, humans always want to know why.  If it is a regular, common, and familiar event, we already know so we don't have to ask.  The spoon fell off the table because of gravity, my eyes watered because I was cutting an onion; we answer why the instant it happens.  But the question is always there, and with big, new, or shocking events the questions are often more difficult to answer.  And sometimes, we make them more difficult than they ought to be.
When two Chechens set off a series of bombs at the Boston Marathon, people began to wonder why on earth anyone could be so awful?  When you mix politics and ideology into the equation, it becomes even more complicated.  The legacy media and various pundits, desperate to avoid the most likely conclusion, stretched at any possible chance this could have been anything but a radical Muslim attack.  They pointed to the day (patriots day) and the location (Boston, Massachusetts) and suggested it must have been some right wing anti-tax protest.  They pontificated that usually these attacks are by right wingers (without a shred of logic or basis).  They even printed pictures like the one shown above from the Sidney Morning Herald, suggesting a tea party connection.
Well as I've written about before, they keep trying and trying to find a tea party monster and all they find are Occupy bombers and radical Muslims.  Still, its worth a shot, I suppose.  Eventually they might be right.  The problem is the target.  People do this kind of thing to make a statement, they don't just "want to watch the world burn," they want to do something symbolic.  The cost in lives and money is fairly low for that to be the only statement, so they pick a target that represents their anger.
And if it were an anti-tax maniac, they would have picked a government target, not random people on the street.  Even Obama's friend, unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers picked police as targets, not just a crowd of onlookers to a sporting event.  Muslim terrorists pick targets that represent their fury: the twin towers representing American riches, the pentagon representing American military might, etc.
Bombing a bunch of people watching a race fits this latter category better than other options, because there were women dressed immodestly (by radical Muslim standards) watching a race with men and women dressed improperly with lots of cameras on it and a cross section of American people.  Blowing them up would spread terror and a major reaction - perhaps even change policy, the purpose of terrorism to begin with.
So now we've found out that they were not angry tea party folks, the folks on the left are trying to figure out why on earth this took place.  They are tying themselves into knots trying to avoid the obvious, that this is a Muslim angry at America, and fit some other possible explanation in.  Remember the Ft Hood shootings?  The shooter explained quite well why he did it, he went into great detail before he shot anyone about what he wanted to do and why.  And yet the usual suspects talked about everything but the reasons he gave.
They could ask the surviving bomber himself.  He gave the usual reasons - moral corruption, American violence against Muslims, and bizarrely because Americans think Muslims are violent.  Yeah, that'll show them.  The question isn't that hard to answer, you just have to take them at their word.  In a way, the leftist folks were right about one thing: these were caucasians in the most literal sense - Chechnya is in the Caucasus Mountains.  Not the kind of caucasian they had in mind, but I'll give it to them.
In seeking solutions to this problem, pundits have begun offering their theories.  For example, Mario Cuomo suggested that this bombing, something he claims was unthinkable in the past, is the new normal, caused by the rapid change of society and of all things climate change.  He's a politician, not a scientist, so I guess I can forgive his ignorance on climate patterns (hint: no warming for over a decade).  But this is a truly strange attempt to explain the bombings away.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman took a similar tack, stating that we have to fix the economy and the best way to do that is levy a gigantic new carbon tax on the nation.  "We need to redouble our efforts to make America stronger and healthier so it remains a vibrant counterexample to whatever bigoted ideology may have gripped these young men," Friedman exclaims.
These attempts betray a certain worldview, an ideology that shapes their understanding of events and solutions.  When they ask why, their basic assumptions about life mold their answers, and in the process betray their ignorance about life.
Raised and trained in a worldview that rejects absolute ethical authority and truth, these men are unable to explain how bad people could do bad stuff on a moral basis, and so they cast about for whatever is out there that might possibly fill in the gap.  The fact that these choices are boutique issues for the left they hope can be shoehorned into the nation during a crisis - never let one go to waste, as Axelrod quipped - is no coincidence either.
People do bad stuff because people are basically bad.  Sure, we do good stuff too, but the general default position for humanity is selfish, mean, violent, and cruel.  We can be trained to keep it to ourselves and hide it well, but it never goes away.  Modern western civilization is not normal for humanity, we're not usually polite, law abiding, and tolerant; pluralism is rare and odd around the world and through history.
People have been blowing things up and killing others for all sorts of reasons for millennia; John Wesley Hardin shot a man for snoring in the 19th century.
Moral corruption causes people do do evil things, not climate change or societal shifts.  Islamic law and Muslim teachings prohibit killing non combatants and innocent people, this isn't command from Muhammad these idiots were following.  They were doing wicked things because they're basically bad people like all of us.  The evil we do comes from inside us, not from outside influences.  The influences shape how that evil takes form, but it isn't the genesis of our bad deeds.  We do bad things because we're bad people.  We only wonder at people doing bad things like bombing a marathon because we've convinced ourselves that humanity is basically decent and nice.
The problem is that for the naturalist, they have convinced themselves that all existence consists merely of what can be measured, sensed, and tested with science.  You can't measure morality, you can't sense truth, and you cannot test righteousness with a Bunsen burner and a test tube.  So they must not exist, or if they do, they're just constructs we invented, not something we must all universally recognize and heed.
Yet modern western civilization has gone out of its way to avoid that fact, and has built a Jenga stack of mythology around the decency of man, our ability to fix ourselves and rid the world of bad, and a utopia that would result if only we followed certain leftist ideology.  Friedman's idea that being extra PC and tolerant will shame bad guys into not doing bad things isn't just ridiculously childish, its suicidal.
As Richard Fernandez writes at the Belmont Club:
So did we provoke Islamism?  Perhaps “we” did. But who is the we? Fewer still notice that Islamists focus their attacks on the cultural flagships of the Left. New York, Boston, London, women’s schools in Afghanistan, gay politicians in the Netherlands, apostate black women in Europe, and even pacifists who make their pilgrimage to the Middle East to bear witness to their own invincible idealism.

The Tsarnaevs were showered with a huge amount of things. And did they like it? No they hated it. Hated the whole idea of the dirty, degenerate, corrupt West. They hated the idea and took the goodies without a thought.  Despite this the mainstream culture is set to respond to their attack with more things.  More drones, detectors, armored vehicles, barriers, restrictions, weapons, armor ….  more items the list of which goes on and on. But omitted from the catalog of responses will be any campaign to mentally engage radical Islam — to debate against it, denounce it or render it uncool — because that would be bigoted.
Mayor Bloomberg's reaction is that we have to start abandoning those old ideas of liberty and change the constitution to deal with modern realities.  That stuff keeps getting in the way of his solutions to the pressing problems of the world like too much sugar and unsaturated fats in our food. And of course, we keep learning that these Muslim terrorists have been living off the generosity and money of the countries they attack, from Spain to England to the US.
 The reaction of the left, no matter what horrors result from their policies or in response to them, is to have more leftist ideology in place.  Its never time to back off and reconsider, its never time to reverse course or change your path, its always time to speed up.  Because if you really paid attention to what was going on, why these attacks happened, you might notice a pattern of events, an escalation of terror attacks in the US since President Obama took office.  And that's counter to the "take advantage of a crisis" tactic used to push for more leftist schemes.
It is sad to watch the reaction of these guys to the tragedy in Boston.  Those dead people and all the wounded, terrified, and shocked runners and spectators aren't helped by avoiding the truth.  All they are is another "speedbump" on the road to serfdom. 

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